18
Feb 15

GERI HALLIWELL – “Bag It Up”

Popular48 comments • 4,102 views

#852, 25th March 2000

halliwellbag Go back to 1998, ask people to predict what a Geri Halliwell solo record would be like, and I’d say they’d have landed somewhere close to “Bag It Up”. It’s brash, plasticky disco, noisy and cheeky: if the role-switching promo clip didn’t get people talking, her BRIT Awards emergence from between a giant pair of inflatable legs would. It’s also the closest her solo hits come to a ‘girl power’ statement (something the video directly references). But where “Wannabe” offered its tween and teen fans a vision of girls-together cameraderie, making romance an explicit second to friendship, “Bag It Up” is a bit more forthright in its demands for autonomy. “Bag it up…boot him out…wind him up… do your thing”. Throw in the reference to smash-hit 90s relationship guru John Gray (the former Maharishi disciple who cranked out fifteen Men Are From Mars… books, as psychologists despaired) and the message is clear. Relationships, in this song, really are a battle of the sexes, and Geri is determined her side are going to win.

So far, so good, so Geri. It’s not as if rock music isn’t full of swaggering celebrations of male sexual freedom and disdain – why not write a woman’s equivalent? And once you’ve written it, why not double down on the concept and perform it like you’re MCing the world’s biggest hen party? “Bag It Up” is as nuanced in its pitch as a pink election battlebus (and as easy a target). It’s also Halliwell’s least subtle lead vocal, which is some feat. She growls, cajoles, and shouts, and by the spoken end, on “look who’s wearing the trousers now”, she’s attacking the song with a gusto she barely even showed on the Spice Girls’ records.

Geri’s obviously loving every moment of this, and “Bag It Up” succeeds as ribald panto – an awards ceremony is the ideal home for it. As a pop single I might want to play more than twice, it falls short. Going full throttle at this song is certainly her best tactic, but a Geri Halliwell record still inescapably involves listening to four minutes of Geri Halliwell singing. It’s fun to hear her unleashed, chewing the scenery on the verses here, but it’s exhausting too, and she oversells the bridge: her stress on “a bad case of opposite sex” and the Mars/Venus swap feel like someone chuckling at their own jokes.

It’s a problem with the whole record: “Bag It Up” is overstuffed – nothing in the 80s funk production gets any breathing space, and Geri has no intention of letting up either. “Come on lady!” she roars. Geri is having fun, and if she’s having fun, well, everyone else must be too, right? But again, this is all exactly what you’d have expected from a Geri Halliwell solo single: “Bag It Up” is her “Let Me Entertain You”, a performer playing themselves, but louder. It’s a strong, fan-pleasing card to play, but with one problem: the weaknesses get dialled up as well as the strengths.

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Comments

  1. 1
    JLucas on 18 Feb 2015 #

    If pop success hadn’t happened for Geri Halliwell, it’s not difficult to imagine that she might have found an alternative calling as a motivational speaker. Big ideas have always been Geri’s forte – get down to the nitty gritty (competent singing, establishing a consistent position on what ‘girl power’ actually stands for) and she tends to fall apart a bit.

    As a personality, she was the closest thing the Spice Girls had to a frontwoman, and an essential part of the unique chemistry that took them as far as it did. But on the actual records, she’s striking by how little of an impression she makes. She’s virtually absent on the ballads and even the big uptempo numbers keep the lions share of the vocals between Emma and the Mels. I can’t even think of a single Geri vocal line that elevates a Spice Girls hit the way Victoria’s slinky “Any fool can see they’re falling” elevates Say You’ll Be There.

    In that sense, Bag It Up is possibly the best use of her talents in her entire discography – group *and* solo. You can’t bring emotional shading to a song like Bag It Up, it could only possibly work if delivered with complete and total commitment – and that’s exactly what Geri brings to the table.

    She’s utterly in her element here, honking out every line with almost militant zeal. Needless to say, there’s a very clear line between this song and the disco classic that would become her next and final bunny. I particularly enjoy the way the final minute fades out over Geri still screaming out an assortment of pop-feminist catchphrases (“Treat him like a lady and spit him out! Make him CRAZY!”). I like to think she went on in this vein for a good 15 minutes, long after the producers had quietly switched off the mic and slipped out of the recording booth for a well deserved drink.

    This was not a song to build a long career on – and I’ll get to the inevitability of Geri’s burn-out when we meet her for the last time – and it’s as marmite as turn of the century pop music is likely to get. If you weren’t previously buying what Geri was selling, I can’t imagine this winning you over. But for allowing her to be the most Geri Halliwell she could possibly be, I couldn’t love it more.

    A hearty 10.

  2. 2
    wichitalineman on 18 Feb 2015 #

    Whenever I hear Bag It Up (or think of it, I should say – you don’t really hear it these days) two things spring to mind. One, the chorus hook is so blatantly pinched from Heatwave’s Boogie Nights. Two, dog poo in the park.

    Given that it has basically the same ingredients as a recent brass-led monster disco bunny, I feel a bit sorry for Geri here. It should have aged better. But… the title makes me feel a bit queasy, the spoken intro makes me cringe, and surely her voice could be, err, disguised a little better?

    Tom, I remember telling you back in 2009, when I was doing a project on ’00s number ones, that I’d have given this 4: you thought I was being very generous, so presumably you’ve mellowed on it.

  3. 3
    katstevens on 18 Feb 2015 #

    Drenched with mood-enhancing vitamin G! I just watched the video for the first time. I expected more 45 degree camera angles?

  4. 4
    lonepilgrim on 18 Feb 2015 #

    ‘attacking the song’ seems an appropriate description of GH’s style. She really does sound like she’s from another planet with her tin-eared, barking performance that references sex without being at all sexy.
    @ 2: I can imagine Geri leading a step class at a local gym but I’d need some evidence for the assertion that ‘Big ideas have always been Geri’s forte’ – I’m not even sure if ‘ideas have always been Geri’s forte’

  5. 5
    Tom on 18 Feb 2015 #

    #2 Yes, sorry to disappoint! This is one I particularly hated at the time, but it wore me down to some degree. I’m quite glad to be shot of it!

  6. 6
    Ricardo on 18 Feb 2015 #

    Songs this beat to the #1 race: blink-182’s “All The Small Things” (#2), Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg’s “Still D.R.E.” (#6) and No Doubt’s “Ex-Girlfriend” (#23). Woot!
    Also in the running were singles by ATB (that Adamski’s/Seal’s “Killer” cover, which is only thus in title; #4), Embrace (#14), Will Smith (#15), Macy Gray (#18), Babybird (#35) and Dario G (#37). None of them exactly vintage material or underappreciated gems – except maybe for Babybird’s “The F-Word”, but I digress.
    Point is, even by the tokens of the day, it’s especially baffling how all but one of Geri’s debut album singles (incidentally, the first one) went all the way to #1. By any person’s criteria, all of them sounded like pretty generic varations on whatever came months-to-a-year previously. “Look At Me” is the Propellerheads’s “History Repeating” with no gravitas at all. “Mi Chico Latino” is probably the poorest Latin pop pastiche ever committed to wax. And then there’s the moment when she and her handlers pretty much seemed to give up and offered the public vague remnants of the Spice Girls. “Lift Me Up” sounds like a torpid “Viva Forever”/”Mama” hybrid. “Bag It Up” is essentially “Who Do You Think You Are” on autopilot.
    The only conclusion I can take from this is that the Great British Public still had some goodwill left for her. If you recall it, she pretty much came out of the whole Geri-Out-Of-The-Spices thing looking as the bigger woman – and her parallel nomination as one of the UN’s Goodwill Ambassadoresses also didn’t hurt as great PR.

  7. 7
    fivelongdays on 18 Feb 2015 #

    Crikey, this beat All The Small Things to number one? That would have made an interesting read (and would have got an eight from me, although Blink-182’s breakthrough US hit, Dammit, is one of the finest examples of the genre and, despite not having charted over here AFAIK, would be a sure fire 10 from me)

  8. 8
    mapman132 on 18 Feb 2015 #

    I was trying to think of what this song reminds me of, and the best I came up with was the “Are You Being Served?” theme where the woman’s calling out elevator stops.

    3/10.

  9. 9
    chelovek na lune on 18 Feb 2015 #

    Quite dreadful. Charmless – the “motivational speaker” aspect that JLucas highlights is a good spot. Clunking, farting bass, and Geri’s horrible voice, sometimes louder than it should be and (in distinct contrast to “Mi Chico Latino” and “Lift Me Up”) no melody to even contemplate considering writing home about or moments of joy amid the nonsense.

    Her weakest no 1 so far, by far. In fact, I can’t be bothered to give it more than (1).

  10. 10
    Cumbrian on 18 Feb 2015 #

    #6: I quite like All The Small Things. And Still D.R.E.. And The F Word.

    Shame this kept Blink 182 off – I can’t stand it, Geri just grates too much on my ear I am afraid. Happily, I had forgotten everything about it until this entry went up except that Noel G wanted to call the final Oasis LP Bag It Up (after a track thusly named that opens the album) only for his girlfriend to point out “You mean, like the Geri Halliwell song?” after which there was a swift rethink.

  11. 11
    flahr on 18 Feb 2015 #

    “All The Small Things” is GREAT, woo-hoo. I assume I didn’t find out about it until secondary school** because I was almost entirely pop-ignorant until I was about fourteen and I was six-going-on-seven at this point – although it is not impossible that it was on the soundtrack of Digimon: The Movie, which from memory was chock-full of American pop-ska (pop-punk, pop-ska, ska-punk, skate-punk, same diff). AND WHAT SIX-GOING-ON-SEVEN-YEAR-OLD COULD POSSIBLY DISLIKE THAT I ASK YOU.

    I will listen to “Bag It Up” when I get home – I will say that I had up until this point thought (possibly as a result of one of you scamps making a joke on the “House of Fun” thread) that it was about contraception, which is apparently not the case. I think someone on Popular may also have previously described this single* as the point at which she became ‘strictly gay-interest only’, which, er, looking at that sleeve.

    *maybe her next bunny

    **I think Blink-182 were Solidly Respected by my secondary school classmates, although I may be conflating them with Limp Bunny

  12. 12
    Tom on 18 Feb 2015 #

    Those fifteen shades of John Gray in full:

    Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
    Mars and Venus on a Date
    Mars and Venus in Love
    Mars and Venus Together Forever: A Practical Guide to Creating Lasting Intimacy
    Mars and Venus in the Bedroom
    Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus Book of Days
    Mars and Venus Starting Over
    Children Are from Heaven
    Practical Miracles for Mars and Venus: Nine Principles for Lasting Love, Increasing Success, and Vibrant Health in the Twenty-first Century
    Mars and Venus in the Workplace
    Truly Mars & Venus
    The Mars & Venus Diet & Exercise Solution
    Why Mars and Venus Collide: Improving Relationships by Understanding How Men and Women Cope Differently with Stress
    Mars and Venus: 365 Ways to Keep Passion Alive
    Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice – Hormonal Balance – The Key to Life, Love, and Energy

  13. 13
    flahr on 18 Feb 2015 #

    #6 incidentally, is your comprehensive rundown of that week’s top 40 in any way related to the fact the OCC have finally got historical chart data accessible on their site? ;-)

  14. 14
    Ricardo on 18 Feb 2015 #

    OK, I just re-read my OP and I admit it: it does come across as if I’m slagging all those songs off. So, just to clear the air, so to say:

    * That first paragraph was meant to highlight songs “Bag It Up” beat to #1 which later became somehow either iconic or generally well-regarded; something “Bag It Up” is certainly not. Admittedly, I’m no fan of “All The Small Things”, but I recognise how enduring it came to be in the Great Pop Conscioussness ever since. The other two, though, I’ll bat for them any time; Dre, especially.

    * All those other songs I’ve mentioned are just that: mentions. As I’ve said, the Babybird song might be the only one that could be seen as underappreciated. But just like the others, it simply vanished from any kind of relevance. Out of that second group of songs, the Macy Gray one is the other one I actually like, but that’s pretty much it. Don’t see it as a tune with potential future cult status, unlike Babybird’s

    As for the Geri Halliwell part, I don’t think it needs any addendum.

    #13: It’s not yet accessible. It’s still only the Top 40 that is up at the moment.

  15. 15
    Mark M on 18 Feb 2015 #

    Re6/10: Still D.R.E. is a monster, surely? Dre, I think, is the best of the part-time rappers – good ghostwriters, knows his limitations, and he can put together a killer track underneath. I don’t think I’d ever noticed that Snoop doesn’t even get a verse, but it nevertheless walks away with it with the outro, which would make a lesser MC sound like a tremendous drug bore/snob, but Snoop makes it charming (‘no sticks, no stems, no seeds, just some of that real sticky icky icky’). Ah.

  16. 16
    Mark G on 18 Feb 2015 #

    See, I quite like Geri, possibly because of her ‘failings’ rather than despite them. And even though the good old media have always portrayed her as someone that it accepted that we all hated by the time this came out, it was a genuine surprise that this hit the top, despite it not being that good really.

    still, out of the five it seemed that only the Mel’s really cared about the music, with Emma showing at least some interest post split. Victoria? She was prepared to work but it seemed that as soon as she found it too hard to stay number one she lost interest, or at least found some other more interesting channels to take.

  17. 17
    Shiny Dave on 18 Feb 2015 #

    Yes, Victoria was quick to move out of pop and into other things.

    The spoken sections are ridiculously crowded out, which might be for the best. The rest is pure Entrepreneur Geri, trying to create a hen party disco classic. I wish there were more songs like this, because – as Tom points out – it’s a genderflipped version of a metric shitload of sexist rock music.

    I also wish some of them were actually good. I might push to a 5 for this, but I’d be basing it on the concept rather than the execution. 4 it is then.

  18. 18
    thefatgit on 18 Feb 2015 #

    The first croaking lines of this were a bit WTF? and then the chorus comes in and I’m suddenly remembering just how bad this is. Well, it’s not entirely bad. Cut from the same cloth as Spice Girls “Who Do You Think You Are?”, Geri turns in a performance that anyone who has heard that, would expect. Loud, brash Girl Power grown out, but not grown up. Men could hardly feel threatened by Geri’s assertions here. And women could hardly feel empowered. However, there’s an accidentally astute observation with “I don’t like sugar on my colour TV/ but he likes it loaded with eye-candy”. I can’t really imagine a Geri critique on Male Gaze being taken seriously by most, when she has taken the pornographer’s shilling*. But who could seriously call Geri Halliwell a feminist anyway? The well worn “battle of the sexes” is a misogynist trope, no matter who’s employing it. This comes from the same perspective as the Two Ronnies’ parody on Women’s Lib, where all the traditional gender-roles were reversed and the late, great Diana Dors played a “feminist” dictator.

    “Bag It Up” could be described as camp, but these days it just feels a little too laden with disco horns, strings, and effects which could collapse under its own weight at any moment. BTW, I liked ATST as well. (4)

    *of course, if women choose to bare all, then that’s their business and shouldn’t undermine any future argument on any subject.

  19. 19
    flahr on 18 Feb 2015 #

    Alright, listened to it now. Jesus but #2 is spot on – was she sued for it? It’s as blatant a lift as “Shakermaker”. Anyway, it’s not very good.

    Maybe a bit early to be mentioning it and maybe it’s just nostalgia (ie vague remembering rather than complete ignorance) but in the YouTube related videos “Scream If You Wanna Go Faster” is at least a bit more entertainingly shonky.

  20. 20
    AuntieBeryl on 18 Feb 2015 #

    #19 It’s not what Popular is about, but tracking Halliwell’s increasing desperation as the hits get smaller and the videos get more contrived is good sport. And I include the bunny in that.

    View from the counter: nobody bought Geri Halliwell’s singles in my shop, 15 miles from her Watford home. I’d never accuse any label of indulging in underhand buying practices, and certainly not in this highly expensive case.

  21. 21
    Tommy Mack on 19 Feb 2015 #

    #15: Dre’s 2001 album was a big part of the soundtrack to my ’99/2000 – some of his best production, some brilliant guest spots from Em, Snoop et al and, like you say, by 1999 Dre knows when to lay his one-note thugged-out delivery on and when to step aside for more adept guest-rappers to take the mic.

    Blink 182 were a non-guilty pleasure at first (Ramones with Smashing Pumkins-sized production) and then a guilty pleasure since. I don’t think this is just snobbery: a band that indulges in teenage lecherousness into their 30s and sings ‘she left me roses by the stairs/surprises let me know she cares’ are having their cake and eating it, no?

    What to say about Geri? There’s a manic zeal to her that makes you want to go with what she’s saying even though it’s frequently rubbish. I’m amazed she’s had as many #1s as Popular records: I’ve deep antipathy for Robbie but in the tabloid pop stakes, he’s the slick Sun to Geri’s loud, cheap and lewd Star.

  22. 22
    AMZ1981 on 19 Feb 2015 #

    Quite a bit to discuss here.

    In a parrallel universe where Mel B quit the Spices in 1998 instead of Geri this is probably what Spice Girls 2000 would have been like. Spicemania would have wound down and the critics would be noting how they were simply rehashing old songs (Bag It Up is Who Do You Think You Are part 2 right down to the Brit Awards connections) but the songs would still be going down a storm at pre teen discos. And this is the point I keep making – Geri had taken the Spice with her. Her records may not have been the best solo Spice numbers but they were one hell of a lot more fun than the other group members trying to impress an adult audience.

    I think Bag It Up may have set an interesting record. For the best part of a quarter century Anetha Faltskog and Frida Lyngstad held the distinction of having featured on more number one singles than any other female lead performer (nine) with Madonna coming closest with eight up until 1998. When the Spice Girls scored their eighth chart topper with Goodbye Mel B – the only member to have had a solo number one at the point – finally drew level with the Abba ladies. With her first two solo chart toppers Geri also made it nine (she hadn’t featured on Goodbye) and with American Pie Madonna did the same. Bag It Up not only put Geri one ahead but it also made her the first female artist to feature on ten UK number one singles.

    The last paragraph is probably of no interest to anyone but having bothered to work it all out I may as well include it.

    It’s a shame All The Small Things didn’t get to number one as it would have been the third guitar based number one of 2000 and an interesting contrast to the two that came before. At the time the attitude of the British rock fan would have been, `Great to have Oasis back and the Manics seem to have remembered they’re a punk band. All The Small Things? Whining American rubbish.`

    How times change. For the kids forming bands in 2015 – and there are still a fair few of them – Blink 182 are a massive influence if not always a direct one (and All The Small Things may remain their best known song but their sound did mature). The Manics are respected as spiritual forbears. As for Oasis, in 2015 they’re virtually dismissed as Dad rock. All The Small Things itself has aged remarkably well and I have to allow myself a smile when I stand in the rock bars of Harrogate watching kids almost half my age go crazy to a song fifteen years old. Which just goes to show you can never predict how things will turn out.

  23. 23
    Ricardo on 19 Feb 2015 #

    Now that the OCC’s official site has, er, officially unveiled its revamped, fully archived Top 100 charts website, time to look at what was bubbling under the Top 40. And one is reminded of how usual it was to spot records from dance labels like Nukleuz, Tidy Trax, Data or Platipus hovering around in positions outside the Top 40, basically every week. Some other sort of legendary labels come to mind from that period: Hooj Choons, VC Recordings, Defected (who are still going). This, of course, alongside the usual Top 40 botherers like FFRR, Ministry of Sound, Positiva, Nulife, Incentive, Multiply or Credence. Crazy times!

  24. 24
    Cumbrian on 19 Feb 2015 #

    #14: The F-Word obviously lived on in the UK due to Gordon Ramsay.

    #15: It probably is a bit of a monster but I also know that, whilst I know what I like personally, my knowledge of and ability to talk coherently about rap is limited at best. Hence what might have come over as equivocation. It’s good – I like it, I couldn’t tell you much of why though. Probably the strut of the track more than the rapping to be honest. I actually prefer Forgot About D.R.E. – but I suppose we might talk about that imminently given we’re about to enter the period of #1s by the guest rapper on that track.

    #22: It’s interesting (to me at least) that Kerrang TV is still largely populated by videos from around this era and in the pop-punk genre in particular. I don’t know whether 15 year olds are busy watching Kerrang TV particularly (15 year olds seem to get a lot of their music from Youtube if the reports I read are any judge) but this specific era, the Blink 182s, the Green Days, the Sum 41s and the Bowling For Soups of this world, still seem to be spinning on in the upper 300s of the Sky channel list, which might well be helping them retain some sort of influence.

  25. 25
    JoeWiz on 19 Feb 2015 #

    I blame Molly Dineen for all this…
    Britain was still very much in love with poor, confused Geri at this point and thought that it had chosen her to ‘do a Robbie’, mainly because the media kept telling us ONE of them was bound to enjoy Robbie sized success. Little did they know. So most of the singles from this album got to number 1 on goodwill rather than any real liking for the song. As previously pointed out, where do we hear these songs now? They aren’t held in any real regard by anyone outside of Spice obsessive and Pop devotees. But the warmth for Geri was such that even a cartoonish stumble like this could get to number one.
    This is pretty awful, and reminds me how much I love WDYTYA like a tribute band reminds me how much I love the original.
    Guitars? I bought Blink’s single, but realised that I couldn’t take them seriously, and there was no joy in their humour, it was simply too hate filled for me.
    One of the guys I work with is 21, a full 10 years younger than me and he’s obsessed with Blink, they seem to be held in far higher esteem than Green Day by today’s PPP punk kids. No idea why…

  26. 26
    23 Daves on 19 Feb 2015 #

    #25 (and others) – when I meet with my nephew, who is a drummer, he constantly tries to talk to me about Green Day and Blink as if they’re bands I’d have a nostalgic fondness for. I barely have the heart to tell him that they really didn’t (and don’t) figure in my life. Led Zeppelin too, who aren’t really connected to either, but seem to be a constant reference for “the kids” these days, whereas when I was a teenager Led Zep still seemed faintly whiffy and supergroupy. I think the issue of the “Past Masters” box set was a real turning point in how they were viewed, in my school and town at least.

    Anyway, Geri… This is the track I find her vocals most irritating on. For me, it suffers the most from her tendency to over-emphasise Every Single Word In An Attempt To Increase The Impact, Baby. It also sounds like the obligatory retro-disco entry at Eurovision – every year a country puts forward a slightly plastic sounding, over-enthusiastic party groove which usually crashes out at the semi final stage or finishes in the second half of the final scoreboard, which can’t have been the sound Geri was trying to emulate.

    I think her positive public image during this period is understandable, though. I even wanted to like her myself. Madonna may have dressed like an ordinary and sassy street girl during the earliest part of her career, but there was still something a bit slick, steely and untouchable about her. Geri, on the other hand, always seemed like the kind of moderately intelligent and ambitious suburban girl made good, the sort of person who exists in cul-de-sacs in Essex, Kent, and indeed Watford. What’s more surprising to me is that the kind of over-confidence, ambition and gobbiness she traded in wasn’t apparent (at least not to me) in a female pop star years before. It was a role that somebody clearly needed to fill.

  27. 27
    fivelongdays on 19 Feb 2015 #

    I know enough people in their late teens/early to mid twenties for whom Blink are untouchable, seminal and Up There. When they did their comeback show a few years back, people talked about it like someone my age might if (for instance) Nirvana somehow got back together. For me (and I would have been 17 when Blink broke through), they were daft and likeable, but for someone born 10-15 years after me they’re somehow more important than Green Day and Offspring.

    Green Day are a slightly odd case – they broke through massively with Dookie, then their appeal became more selective (in spite of which, Insomniac and Nimrod are both fantastic albums) and they were looking like yesterday’s men until American Idiot happened in 2004. At which point, they became bigger than they’d ever been, and suddenly contemporaries and near contemporaries of mine (who’d shown precisely no interest in the West Coast punk scene – well, ok, they might have bought Pretty Fly) suddenly decided Billie Joe Armstrong was their personal messiah. All a bit odd and strangely off putting, in a way.

  28. 28
    Cumbrian on 19 Feb 2015 #

    I don’t find it strange at all that 23 Daves drumming nephew is into Blink: young drummers seem to have a very high regard for Travis Barker, who is pretty good amongst rock drummers as far as I can tell.

    For a certain age and stripe of person, Green Day are The Beatles. This is obviously A Good Thing, in my view (not because The Beatles aren’t worthy or anything, more because it’s encouraging that people find their own path and key influences and not be totally indebted to that which is handed down on tablets of stone from the 60s).

  29. 29
    Tom on 19 Feb 2015 #

    Not that my opinions on pop punk are worth much, but I’m certainly fonder of “All The Small Things”, “Rock Show” and (a particular favourite) gloomy and uncharacteristic late hit “I Miss You” than anything by Green Day. I wonder if the change in reputation is an after effect of Green Day getting serious and credible – a band that appeals to (current) thirtysomethings rather than people a bit younger.

    I also wonder how much TV is a vector in all this – pop punk as a style seems to be the soundtrack lingua franca of American kids’ TV themes for the last 20 years or so. That might account for how it’s managed to stay so beloved among 90s and 00s kids.

  30. 30
    Ricardo on 19 Feb 2015 #

    #24 – Does it notice too much I’m not British? ;) Indeed, I wasn’t aware of “The F-Word”‘s usage as the theme tune to a Gordon Ramsay show, as I never even heard of it before. It might be available on some cable channel around here (here being Portugal), but not that I’m aware. My Chef Ramsay awareness comes from Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and Home Cooking.
    As for blink-182’s current stock among teens and young adults and Travis Barker’s stock among drummers, I also remember how, at one point, during blink’s hiatus, he regularly used to crank remixes of hip-hop tunes. I particularly recall one he did for Flo-Rida’s “Low” (it’s a #2 tune, so no bunny here!) which was quite appreciated at the time. He even did a full rap/rock album a few years ago, wherein people like Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross and Ludacris guested.

  31. 31
    23 Daves on 19 Feb 2015 #

    #28 I’m sure I’ve raised this point on “Popular” before – probably on The Wonder Stuff’s solitary thread, I expect – but when I heard Green Day for the first time, my internal response was “Wow! Grebo’s back!” Not so much Ned’s Atomic Dustbin or Gaye Bykers on Acid, obviously, more The Stuffies and PWEI.

    Obviously, I’m not accusing Green Day of being influenced by either, clearly all bands were drawing from the same seventies pop-punk source – but the goofy, moody yet effervescent, lager-dribbling three-minute tunes I heard rang serious bells for me. Having been through that phase once in my life already with my obsessive playing of “Eight Legged Groove Machine” at an impressionable age, I felt no real desire to revisit those kinds of noises again.

    I’m not disputing that Green Day’s musicianship was a bit of an improvement on Stourbridge’s finest at the point of their debut album, though.

    Later, on a long three month visit to Canada in early 2005, Green Day’s “American Idiot” album was inescapable on FM radio. It grew on me a bit, but not enough that I felt the urge to buy an actual copy, though I downloaded that “American Edit” bootleg that did the rounds.

  32. 32
    fivelongdays on 19 Feb 2015 #

    Tom – today’s 30 somethings are, of course, the people who would have been teens (or almost teens) when Dookie came out. I think the main thing missing from GD post-American Idiot is (A) a sense of quality control and (b) Mike Dirnt’s frenetic, melodic, exciting basslines. He started following the guitars from AI onwards, which was a bit of a shame, because his bass carried the melody in pretty much all the hits from Dookie.

    Travis Barker is a very, very talented drummer – all the drummers I know rate him extremely highly. The story is that Blink’s original drummer quit halfway through a Warped tour, they needed a drummer very quickly, and Barker (who was in a forgotten ska band) filled in having learned Blink’s entire set beat for beat in 45 minutes.

  33. 33
    weej on 20 Feb 2015 #

    I was all cued up to hate this, only to find that it’s pretty ok – it’s exactly what you’d expect from a Geri Halliwell single, plays exactly to her meagre strengths and doesn’t allow her to try anything too ambitious. In that sense it’s a complete success, though I also have no great desire to play it again.

  34. 34
    weej on 20 Feb 2015 #

    Oh, and re: Blink 182, Sum 41 et al, they were a joke to everyone I knew in 2000, can someone explain to me why their stock has risen so much in the last 15 years? I can understand enjoying their music, but they didn’t even seem to take *themselves* seriously, so why should anyone else?

  35. 35
    JLucas on 20 Feb 2015 #

    Blink 182 were never to my tastes, but I can appreciate they were probably great fun if you like that sort of thing.

    I Miss You was almost a genuinely great song, spoiled for me by Tom Delonge’s awful honking vocals on the chorus (I appreciate the irony of making that complaint after my defence of Geri, but Bag It Up isn’t aiming for any emotional gravitas).

  36. 36
    Cumbrian on 20 Feb 2015 #

    #34: I’ll stick my neck out on that question. I think Tom is right that there’s an influence from US TV shows and films that are in heavy rotation, so that this music never really went away. I’d also say that the fact that they didn’t take themselves too seriously was a real boon for them; in the UK guitar scene at least they were up against boring, mewling non-entities, strumming their acoustic guitars in tedious fashion with no tunes and no clue. At least these guys could turn a chorus out and lived in technicolour a bit – it’s why we ultimately fell for The White Stripes, The Hives and The Darkness over here, getting away from the likes of Starsailor. I’m not a huge fan of many if any of the US pop punkers but I would definitely buy a US pop-punk Nuggets comprising the best and biggest of the hits – the stuff that hit big is pretty good I would say.

  37. 37
    Tommy Mack on 20 Feb 2015 #

    While we’re on the subject of Blink, What’s My Age Again is genuinely quite touching in its belief that 23 is too old to be acting ‘like you’re in freshman year’. It’s the one where they run around naked through LA in the video.

    Transplants, Travis Barker’s collaboration with Tim Armstrong and Rob Aston produced at least one killer single in the piano-loop driven Diamonds and Guns and at least one decent album though enjoying it does hinge on how much you can stomach Armstrong’s voice.

  38. 38
    DanH on 21 Feb 2015 #

    Green Day is an odd one to me. I first was aware of them at age 10, when my brother was all over the just released Dookie, so I knew that album very well. I only knew of the radio singles from Insomniac (“Brain Stew/Jaded” being my favorite) and Nimrod, and I’m probably the only person who really liked Warning, as I was a proper teenager when it came out. Nowadays the whole album has been written out of the history books. However, when American Idiot came out, I heard the title track, found it OK, but reasoned that at age 20 I was too old for that thing anymore. Little did I realize how much of a touchstone it became with my age group, and only listened to all of it years after the fact.

    Blink 182, on the other hand, never had any time for them. Got a few grins out of the “All the Small Things” video that nicked all the teen pop videos of 1999, but that was it.

  39. 39
    wichitalineman on 22 Feb 2015 #

    Why is it called Bag It Up?

  40. 40
    Tommy Mack on 22 Feb 2015 #

    Dunno, just makes me think of No Diggity.

  41. 41
    Inanimate Carbon God on 2 Mar 2015 #

    It took a fortnight for me to drum up the courage to listen to this again. As a sour 14-year-old I saw it as the definition of “lowest common denominator”, “manufactured pop”, “cheese”, all those earthy, real ale-supping uncle, David Lloyd/Geoffrey Boycott descriptions. In 2015, that doesn’t bother me much as I’ve learnt dadrock is an even bigger enemy of great pop. The problem comes from running the Doors’ “Changeling” into the ground (BEFORE Boogie Nights, fact fans!) and moreover that getting someone of Geri Halliwell’s subtlety to write something satirical and situationist about gender roles is like eating Sunday tea five minutes before you go swimming.

    2.

    At least she’s trying, more than can be said for Madonna’s American soggy cheese pasty in the rain. Sorry I keep going on about that. There must be some suppressed teenage memory from that song involving baked goods.

  42. 42
    Fivelongdays on 4 Mar 2015 #

    So-called Dad’rock’ is far more anti-rock’n’roll than this and its ilk could ever be.

  43. 43
    flahr on 4 Mar 2015 #

    ‘so-called’ ”Dad”rock”

  44. 44
    Inanimate Carbon God on 4 Mar 2015 #

    But which dads do truly rock? I don’t mean just any actual father, but someone who has the demeanour of a stereotypical dad. Springsteen?

  45. 45
    Cumbrian on 4 Mar 2015 #

    Springsteen hasn’t really rocked since he became a father though. All his rockingest stuff is from before fatherhood and now he’s peddling that on tour but none of the stuff post becoming a father really rocks in the same way as something like Ramrod or Because The Night or whatever.

    Neil Young, on the other hand, looks like a certain type of Dad and has definitely rocked since becoming one – Re-Ac-Tor, Freedom, Ragged Glory, Le Noise, Psychedelic Pill et al being the proof points I think.

  46. 46
    wichitalineman on 4 Mar 2015 #

    “So-called” “self-styled” “dad rock”.

    Listening to PM tonight I heard the capital of Islamic State described as “so-called self-styled”. Does my head in.

  47. 47
    punctum on 5 Mar 2015 #

    In the right, or even the wrong, hands “Bag It Up” could have been the mother of all subversive post-New Pop/Riot Grrl manifestos. Its video, too, errs one crucial point short of fantastic; if “Girl Powder” is supposed to be a barbed comment about Halliwell’s previous life, what does that say about the notion a united front of feminists, or indeed the need for truth above the craving for personal gain? Nearly all of the necessary elements are intact; chunky production, opulent Britfunk horn sections (practically a big band), even the unquestionably authentic Pepsi and Shirlie on backing vocals. But Geri continues to be the orange, if not a black, hole; the chorus itself relies on the assumption that not many people will be familiar with Barry Blue’s Rod Temperton-penned 1987 single “Change It Up” (the similarity is more than marked) and despite the supposedly bold role reversal at the climax of both song and video (“Treat him like a lady”) the appeal seems to be directed towards impressionable young men with their boxes of Kleenex tissues and video remote pause buttons. The line “Wind him up and make him crazy” gives it away; there is merely some ticklish pseudo-dominatrix winking (not a misprint) at work here, besides which Halliwell herself can’t resist the provincial rep musical approach with her nose-licking growls of “Who’s wearing the trousers now?” In addition, the men/girls Venus/Mars meme – a tired device even in 2000 – indicates that Geri is merely having a laugh; men, can’t live with/without ’em, and thusly thus. As for “bag it up” and “don’t drop the baby” I can only assume that the role reversal involves the man being assigned Hoover and childcare duties. A dividing line short of radical; quite a chocolatey record but not a determinedly controversial one.

  48. 48
    ciaran on 8 Mar 2015 #

    WDYTYA is the obvious comaprison here as mentioned but whilst thats quite charming ‘Bag It Up’ just seems totally derivative.

    Nothing wrong with the female perspective on these things at all but it’s like a ploy to extend the shelf life of Geri above all else.You need someone stronger than GH to make this convincing.

    Her not terribly good records to start with just got worse with each release and this is a real low point. 2

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